Dillabough, Bertha Proffitt

Regimental Number: W130084

Bertha was born on November 15, 1919 to Albert and Maude Proffitt. She had one sister, Mildred. The Proffitt’s were from Kansas, USA where they farmed until they decided to move to the Calgary area in 1911. They sold their farm in 1929 and moved to the Peace River Country and homesteaded in the Fitzsimmons area.

Seeking adventure, Bertha enlisted in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps. The formation of the C.W.A.C. (Canadian Women’s Army Corps) during WWII was a milestone in the history of women’s participation in the Canadian military. Bertha joined a truly patriotic group of young women who up until that point did not have an “official” corps to belong to. The diminishing supply of male labour and two years of Allied defeats, forced the issue of forming an official Corps. Women would replace men in non-combat duty, thereby freeing soldiers for service at the front. In August 1941, the government authorized the formation of the Canadian Women’s Army Corps to enlist several thousand women in support roles. Most C.W.A.C.’s underwent basic training in Kitchener, Ontario or Vermillion, Alberta. Bertha was sent to Ontario and this is where she met William “Jeff” DIllabough whom she married in January 1945. In 1946, they moved to the Fitzsimmons area where Bertha had a homestead quarter of land that she had applied for in 1938. They eventually acquired three more ¼’s of land and raised a family of seven children; Geraldine, Deborah, Murray, Russell, Neil, Rhonda and Brenda. Geraldine passed away in 1962 at age 9.

Jeff retired from farming in 1980 when Bertha became very ill and he cared for her in their home. Bertha passed away in 1986.

In 1945, the Proffitt’s took over the Fitzsimmons Post Office which they operated for many years. Maude hauled the mail from Bezanson every Saturday. In 1954, they moved to Bezanson into a log house that had been the home of Mr. & Mrs. Harry Severson.

Contributed by Wanda Zenner

Smoky River to Grande Prairie History Book